How online reviews drive in-store purchases

Caddle analyzed thousands of reviews from Walmart.ca to see the impact user content has on decision-making.
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Ratings and reviews are so key to driving retailer engagement in-store that 41% of consumers will bounce to another retailer if these aren’t on a company’s website.

That’s according to the latest data released from Caddle, which polled 1000 members of its insights panel on how reviews impact purchase behaviour in April, alongside an analysis of hundreds of thousands of collected reviews from Walmart.ca.

The insights also found that 57% of consumers will have decreased purchase intentions if there are no reviews and ratings.

Caddle data reveals 95.2% of consumers say reviews are important when purchasing online. But even in-store, that figure is 88%, which Colleen Martin, chief revenue officer at Caddle, says is a surprising number.

But she says it also points to interactive signage at store level to further drive point of purchase sales as part of the future of retail. Having reviews syndicated from Walmart.ca to show people items that rated 4.3 stars and above can bring that 88% figure up into the 90s, depending on the product.

In fact, user reviews resulted in five times the sales of more traditional uses of paid media, Martin says, all boiling down to trust – which consumers value from their peers as opposed to brands.

Walmart has been “doubling down” on ratings and reviews and making them a top priority to succeed in omnichannel, says Shariq Hasan, eCommerce Lead at Walmart Canada, adding that user generated content is “the voice of the customer” and is precious for how it drives loyalty and trust.

According to Hasan, it’s the first 50 reviews that provide the highest level of purchase lift. And Caddle insights show 64% of consumers read more than three reviews before committing to purchase, and also that 30 to 50 product reviews every six months is key to conversion. “More reviews equals more sales, straight up,” Hasan notes. “We see across our website, that products that have reviews versus those that don’t, conversion is three to four times higher,” he adds.

The vendor and vendor community need to be on top of products in terms of how they’re doing with regards to UGC and answering consumer questions.

In fact, 57% of consumers think reviews older than four months are “outdated.” Recency is key, so that things are not stale on a product site. According to Martin, “earlier than four months’ recency” really impacts SEO, as well as conversion.

 

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